Andrew McClelland’s Mix Tape (FringeTIX)
Andrew McClelland @ The Garden Shed
7:45pm, Tue 6 Mar 2007
I like Andrew McClelland – despite the fact that his name is silly to type (what with two Cs and three Ls in the space of six letters), he’s an honest and upfront comedian, earnest in his work and lovably scruffy in his presentation and style. Your grandmother would love him just as much as you, I think, although I have no knowledge whatsoever of your grandmother’s comedic leanings. Nor yours, for that matter. It’s a moot point, really, because I write these snippets for me and I am, at this point in time, Grandmotherless. I’m pretty sure I’ll remain Grandmotherless for all future points in time, too. Obviously, at some stage, I had not one, but two Grandmothers, but they’re currently both dead. Hence, I am currently Grandmotherless.
Bugger. It’s a comedy show, and I’ve just dribbled on about DEATH. Best get back on track then, eh?
What the curiously coiffed McClelland brings to the stage is his analysis of what makes a mix-tape great. To help us out, he presents his rules for great mix-tapes, tactics to woo romantic targets, and his own personal top seven songs. Of course, this all acts as a framework for his gentle humour and live character experimentation which, whilst not always hitting the mark, at least had a smile on my face.
And, as much as his song selections were used as inspiration for segments of giggle, they were also about the genre and the accompanying social aspects – dance, attitude, impact. McClelland dives into analyses of hip-hop, metal (ooooh, that was glorious – if not worthy of death threats from any self-respecting black metal band), why pop charts are shit, and why Michael Jackson so viciously protects the copyrights to Beatles songs. His tragi-comedic explanation behind the inclusion of an Explosions In The Sky song was beautiful (yet still grinworthy), and stories of his teaching career (in an un-named – but utterly identifiable – school) was briliant.
There was a most un-McClelland-like moment, though – dropping into the character of a cockney cab driver, Andrew dropped the F-Bomb. There was a moment – a glorious glimpse of astonished realisation – before a profuse apology, explanation, apology.
As I’ve noted above, I really enjoy McClelland’s work, both in podcast and on stage (hey, there’s something spooky – he was in the second show I saw in 2006 and 2007). Nothing that he did tonight changed my mind about that; closing with a singalong Monkees ripoff, he bids a fond farewell – “I love doing this show, but I’d rather do it in front of people.” For the thirty-or-so in the crowd, this could have been considered a snub; but McClelland’s lovable style just made it feel warm. And cuddly.